Suriname, a Caribbean country boasting of dense Amazonian forests and a potpourri of people New York would be jealous of. Take a preview of the best this little country has to offer, through this Vacayholics post.
Did you know…
… that more than 80% of Suriname is covered by forests and it has one of the lowest deforestation rates in the world.
Covered with lush, green rainforests, Suriname is a real treat to anyone looking for the wonders that nature has to offer. But, besides nature, Suriname also boasts a vibrant city full of the heritage, colonial-era Dutch buildings. A music scene with a heavy Indo-Caribbean influence and featuring the unique kaseko – a blend of European, American and African music traditions. If food is your drug, then you will be surprised by the variety and flavors this tiny country has to offer – with a sizable Indian (from India) population and a heavy influence of African, Javanese and Chinese cuisine, the food though, is on the spicy side.
Suriname has over 11 natural reserves created with the intent of protecting its diverse plant and animal life, ranging from sea turtles to ornate birds, to the brightly colored blue arrow poison arrow frog. Here are the best places to view its unspoiled beauty and have a great time.
Paramaribo, affectionately called “Par’bo”, is the capital of Suriname and arguably, the only city in the country. It houses more than 50% of the country’s population and is well-connected to the interior. You can also book tours to all the best tourist destinations in Suriname from here.
Best known for
The inner city received the coveted UNESCO World Heritage Site status for its unique architecture – colonial Dutch building from the 17th century made with the local materials and exhibiting native elements. Also of note are the wilde bussen, the buses plying the streets of Par’bo, for their hand-painted designs and art work.
Paramaribo is famous for various historical and beautiful buildings including Jewish, Muslim and Hindu places of worship right next to each other. Here are some other famous places in the city.
The fort was the site of several significant historical events, including the December Murders and itself has a pretty interesting history. It houses a small museum, but is most famous for the fantastic view of the Suriname river it offers.
Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral
The biggest wooden structure in the Western Hemisphere, the Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral is a treat to the eyes with its massive spire and intricate woodwork.
The Independence Square
The square is just a short distance from Fort Zeelandia and houses the Presidential Palace and several other buildings from the colonial era. Also nearby is the Palm Garden – a popular place to relax in the cool, breezy shade of the palm trees.
The only zoo in Suriname, is a small but well maintained zoo with plenty of animals including the spectacular cardinal ibis, various apes, anacondas and jaguars.
Central Suriname Nature Reserve
The Central Suriname Nature Reserve is a 1.6 million hectare pristine tropical forest in central Suriname around 200 km south of Paramaribo.
Best known for
A huge number of animals, from colorful macaws to all the South American primate species, reside here. Due to the vast area of the reserve, a lot remains to be explored and discovered. A few of the known species in the reserve include:
The Raleigh Falls located on the Coppename river – one of the few uninhabited, unspoiled rivers in the world.
Mount Voltzberg, a 245 m dome of granite to get a bird’s-eye view of the extensive forest.
● Good trekking shoes
● An extra set of clothes, if planning to splash in the waterfall
Brownsberg Nature Park
One of the most popular tourist attractions of Suriname is the 12,000 hectare Brownsberg Nature Park, just 150 km from the bustling capital city of Paramaribo. The three-hour drive from the city is itself a rather exciting event, as the bus travels through the dense rainforests and mountains to the base camp. It also has basic accommodation huts for those wanting to spend a night.
Best known for
Beautiful scenic walks and a multitude of pleasant little waterfalls to play in. Exotic creatures residing in the Park, like
Brokopondo Reservoir, one of the largest reservoirs in the world, covering approximately 1% of the country is also a part of the Brownsberg Nature Park. Created in the 1960s by building the Afobaka dam it is quite a sight with tall, dead trees half-submerged in the huge expanse of calm waters.
Also visit Tonka island, a small island in the lake offering activities like swimming, fishing and boating.
● Good, comfortable walking shoes
● Long clothes
Galibi Nature Reserve
The Galibi Nature Reserve is a 13 km strip of beach in the North-Eastern region of Suriname and can be reached by a boat from Albina.
Best known for
The Giant leatherback turtle – the largest marine turtle in the world, they can grow up to 8 feet in girth and weigh over 900 kilograms. The reserve is also famous for being a nesting site of other amphibians and like
Albina – an Amerindian fishing village, with its laid-back lifestyle and distinct Caribi people. Have a stroll through the village or stay for a couple of hours to know about the culture, traditions and lifestyle of the indigenous population, or just enjoy the beach.
● Comfortable, closed-toe shoes
Besides these, there are also little-known places where you may learn about the maroon (escaped slaves from Africa and America) and Amerindians in small village resorts like the Danpaati, Arapahu Island, Awarradam and Jodensavanne (where the ruins of the first Jewish synagogue in the Western Hemisphere are located).